HL Deb 23 July 1868 vol 193 cc1652-61

House in Committee (according to Order).

Clauses 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 5 postponed.

Clause 6 (Power of Governing Bodies to alter their Constitutions).


said, the time given by the clause to the Governing Bodies of Schools in which to reform themselves—namely, till the 1st of January next—was insufficient for the purpose. He was desirous of extending the period by another whole year, unless their Lordships thought a more limited extension would be preferable, and he would therefore propose to insert 1870 instead of 1869.


said, that when the second reading of the Bill was discussed there was a general feeling that the period expiring on the 1st of January next, as fixed by the Bill was not sufficient. On the other hand, he submitted that it would be unduly prolonging it to substitute the 1st of January, 1870, for the 1st of January, 1869, as suggested by the noble Viscount. An extension of three or at most six months would, he thought, fully meet all the requirements of the case.


concurred with his noble Friends in thinking the period fixed by the clause somewhat too limited. At the same time, it should be remembered that the purpose for which the Governing Bodies were to be called together was not one that would necessarily require long deliberation. They were not to frame statutes, but simply to propose a reform in the constitution of their own bodies. He suggested, there fore, that the 1st of May, 1869, should be inserted instead of the 1st of January, 1869; also retaining power to the Queen in Council to allow an additional three months, if that should be deemed necessary.

Clause amended by inserting the words "the First Day of May" instead of "the First Day of January."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 7 to 12, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 13 (General Power to make Regulations).

LORD LYTTELTON moved an Amendment to leave out ("and with respect to the System of Promotion in the School").

On Question, That the said Words stand Part of the Clause? their Lordships divided:—Contents 15; Not-Contents 36: Majority 21.

Resolved in the Negative.

Amendment made.

Brooke and Warwick, E. Hawarden, V.
Chichester, E. Melville, V.
Nelson, E. [Teller.]
Stanhope, E. [Teller.] Colchester, L.
Stradbroke, E. Colville of Culross, L.
Verulam, E. Denman, L.
Gage, L. (V. Gage.)
Bolingbroke and St. John, V. Hylton, L.
Sondes, L.
Cairns, L. (L. Chancelor.) Sydney, V.
Churston, L.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Ebury, L.
Foley, L. [Teller.]
Mar. lborough, D. Harris, L.
Richmond, D. Hartismore, L. (L. Henniker.)
Exeter, M. Houghton, L.
Normanby, M. Lyttelton, L.
Lyveden, L.
Airlie, E. Monson, L.
Beauchamp, E. Mostyn, L.
De Grey, E, [Teller.] Northwick, L.
Devon, E. Overstone, L.
Fortescue, E. Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.) Saye and Sele, L.
Granville, E. Seaton, L.
Leven and Melville, E. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Malmesbury, E.
Stratheden, L.
De Vesci, V. Sundridge, L.(D.Argyll.
Stratford de Redcliffe, V.

then proposed to insert after "Boys" the words "not being boarders," with the view of restricting the operation of the Conscience Clause to day scholars. While agreeing that the parents of day scholars should be at liberty to withdraw their sons from the religious instruction of the school, he contended that it would be unfair to place a Master under this restriction with regard to his boarders, towards whom he stood in loco parentis for nine months of the year.


said, that in these schools the day scholars were so few that a Conscience Clause confined to them would be of no practical importance. He fully appreciated the value of common religious instruction and worship; but he had heard great regret expressed by Roman Catholic noblemen and gentlemen that they were unable to send their sons to our great public schools, because they would there be compelled to receive religious instruction of which their parents disapproved, and he thought a common education, irrespective of religious opinions, was so desirable that on this ground he must oppose the Amendment. He did not suppose that a large number of Protestant Dissenters would attend these schools.


said, he must oppose the Amendment. He thought the object of his noble Friend might be attained without the proposed exception, which might seriously interfere with the number of boys at Eton and the other schools not in the metropolis. The object of his noble Friend, as he understood it, was not to interfere with liberty of conscience in regard to the general teaching of the school, but to remove any difficulties with respect to domestic arrangements in the houses of the Masters. Now, it was perfectly competent for a Master to make any regulations he pleased with regard to the religious instruction of those under his own roof, and he might very properly make it a condition with the parents that their sons should conform to the religious instruction given them.

Amendment (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.

Another Amendment made.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

LORD LYTTELTON moved to insert after Clause 13 the following clause:— All matters relating to the Studies, Discipline, and Administration of any School to which this Act applies, except such as are 'otherwise assigned in this Act, shall be left to the uncontrolled Discretion and Power of the Head Master.' There were two authorities, the Governing Body and the Head Master, and it was impossible to make an accurate limitation of what their powers should respectively be. When they had defined as far as possible the respective powers of the two authorities they must leave in the one hand or the other a general power. The Commissioners recommended that the Governing Body should be authorized to make arrangements for the general regulation and management of the School, except in matters specially reserved for the Head Master. Now there was no such reservation in the Bill. His belief was that it would be better to leave the large and important class of subjects embraced in the clause to the discretion of the Head Master, over whom the Governing Body would have sufficient control, seeing that they had in their hands the power; both of appointing and dismissing him.


said, he; could not accept the proposition of the noble Lord. What was proposed to do was this—to take away from the Governing Body and vest in a person who was their servant the power as to all matters relating to studies, discipline, and administration. That was inverting the natural order of things and making the Head Master the Governing Body.


said, the noble and learned Lord seemed to forget that the Governing Body had the absolute and uncontrolled power of dismissing the Head Master, which would be quite sufficient security that the Head Master would exercise the power proposed to be vested in him by the clause in a proper manner.


said, that the reason advanced in support of the clause was the very strongest that could be urged against it. The proposition was to give the Head Master powers which the Governing Body could not control unless they dismissed the Head Master, who might be a very excellent Master in other respects, and whom the Governing Body might be very unwilling to dismiss.


said, that according to the fifth general recommendation of the Public School Commissioners the Head Master should have the uncontrolled power of making arrangements for the School, regulating the hours of school work, the holidays, maintaining discipline, and other such matters. If it was not the intention of the Government to give effect to that recommendation, he pressed them to say whether they would not admit the principle of reserving certain important powers to the Head Master.


said, the Head Master was vested with the power of selecting and dismissing the Under Masters, and the Governing Body had given to them by the Bill the power of making regulations with regard to certain specified subjects upon which they were in the habit of consulting the Head Master, and giving him a full opportunity of expressing his views. To increase the power of the Master would he to reduce that of the Governing Body. It seemed to be mistakenly supposed that the Governing Body had an authority co-existent with that of the Head Master; but the Governing Body met, perhaps, only twice a year. It was a legislative body which made general regulations, and could not interfere in minute particulars. The whole executive power must necessarily be left to the Head Master. The effect of the proposed Amendment would be to define the provinces within which the Master would retain the executive power; but the inevitable consequence would be the clashing of the authority of the Head Master with that of the Governing Body, when the former found that he had statutory power to do certain things which were not specified and defined, but were merely implied in words of vague and general meaning.


understood it to be alleged, on the one hand, that the Governing Body had all the powers of government which were vested in the Head Master; and, on the other hand, that the powers of the Governing Body were limited to those defined by the clause. There were many points not alluded to in the clause; and it appeared to be desirable that there should be a clear understanding—that it should be laid down who was to have the power in certain matters, and that it should he stated whether what was not reserved to the Governing Body was given to the Head Master. He thought that the Government should endeavour to bring up on the Report some clauses which should give certain defined powers to the Head Master in conformity with the recommendations of the Commissioners.


thought some misapprehension had arisen from the fact that the 13th clause specified, under ten different heads, the provinces in which the power of making regulations was reserved to the Governing Body; but it would have been wholly unnecessary to have given them those powers if there had been a tabula rasa before. The clause was obviously introduced because it might turn out that the existing statutes, charters of foundation, or other instruments might contain provisions as to regulations in conflict with the reservation of them to the Governing Body; and therefore it was to be enacted that notwithstanding any Act of Parliament, custom, &c, the Governing Body should have the power of making these regulations. The object was to clear the Governing Body of all antecedent rules as to the exercise of these powers, and therefore they were specified. It was impossible the Governing Body could control the Head Master in the matter of punishments, or the number of lines to be learnt by a scholar, and such minute details; and, unless everything to be done by the Head Master was to be defined, it was impossible to escape the conclusion that every power not given to the Governing Body was to be exercised by the Head Master. The 13th clause was not meant to describe all the powers of the Governing Body; it was meant only to remove particular statutes and instruments of foundation out of the way.


said, it was a circumstance which ought clearly to weigh with the Government that the Amendment embodied an unanimous recommendation of the Commission, who had all the facts before them.


said, he could not undertake to consider what special powers should be left to the Head Master. The subject had been carefully and anxiously considered by the Select Committee. It would produce the greatest possible inconvenience to specify certain particulars which should be under the control and jurisdiction of the Head Master. The inclusion of one thing would be the exclusion of another, and in many respects there might be a clashing of authority between the Head Master and those who were practically his masters. It would be an unheard-of thing to give a statutory power to a servant liable to dismissal. If a clause were prepared and submitted he would consider it; but he could not undertake to do anything more on the part of the Government.


asked, whether the Government would consider the principle free from details?


pointed out the extreme importance of maintaining the influence and position of the Head Master of a School, and quoted the anecdote of the Head Master requesting the King to remove his hat in the School, and afterwards stating that he should lose all his influence over the boys if they supposed that the world contained a greater man than himself. The powers of the Head Master should be plenary and complete; and though no doubt some restraining power was necessary on the part of the Governing Body, it should be kept in the background as much as possible. He hoped the Government would take time to consider the reasonable and just views taken on this point by the noble Lord (Lord Lyttelton).


said, he could not help concurring with his noble Friend (Lord Lyttelton) that both for the sake of securing the best possible man for Head Master and for the efficient carrying on of the School, it was desirable that some attempt should be made to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners upon this point.


said, he was willing to leave the general powers to the Governing Body; but the Bill would work much better if certain things were left in the power of the Head Master. He would endeavour to embody his views in a new clause, and bring it up on the Report.


said, the Government could not assent to the proposal to leave the residuum of the powers not mentioned in the Bill to the Head Master. He did not know what would be the definition attempted by the noble Lord; but the Government would not, of course, be pledged to consider it.

Motion (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.

Clauses 14 and 15 agreed to.

Clause 16 (Appointment of Commissioners).


proposed to add two names to the Commission—that of Canon Blakesley and Sir Roundell Palmer. Mr. Blakesley's name had been omitted from the clause in the House of Commons under a total misapprehension, and he had been treated with extreme injustice and want of consideration. As senior Tutor at Trinity College for some time, his name would have given weight to the Commission, and a great mistake had been committed in leaving out his name. No doubt the gentleman by whom he had been supplanted was able and competent; but he was not nearly so well known ns Mr. Blakesley was. He (Lord Lyttelton) therefore proposed the re-introduction of Mr. Blakesley's name, and could not believe that there -would be any difficulty on the part of their Lordships in acceding to the Motion. It was thought advisable that the number of the Commission should be an odd number, and the most rev. Prelate said he had no objection to nine members. At present Cambridge was not adequately represented on the Commission, Oxford having more than two to one members. Moreover, there was at present only one clergyman upon the Commission, and in both these respects it would be well that Canon Blakesley should be added. The other name he should propose to add was that of Sir Roundell Palmer.

Moved to add the Names of Sir Roundell Palmer and the Reverend Joseph William Blakesley to the Commission to be appointed under the Act.—(The Lord Lyttelton.)


agreed with the noble Lord that Canon Blakesley had not been well treated, and that the Commission was injured by the absence of his name from it. No person in the kingdom could be better fitted to serve upon such a Commission; but, unfortunately, other things had to be considered in this case. It was much to be regretted that in the other House of Parliament the question of the name of one of the Commissioners had been made the subject of personal feeling, and if that discussion were reopened there would be considerable doubt as to the further progress of the Bill. This was the reason and the only reason why the Government was unable to accede to a proposal which in itself was very reasonable and even desirable. The interest taken by Mr. Blakesley in this subject and his feeling of self-respect would probably lead him to desire that no peril should arise to the Bill and that his name should not be the subject of personal controversy.

On Question? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 29; Not-Contents 25: Majority 4.

Resolved in the Affirmative.

Amendment agreed to.

Normanby, M. Calthorpe, L.
Salisbury, M. [Teller.] Lyveden, L.
Monson, L. [Teller.]
Mostyn, L.
Airlie, E. Northbrook, L.
Chichester, E. Northwick, L.
De Grey, E. Overstone, L.
Granville, E. Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)
Nelson, E.
Stradbroke, E. Saltersford, L.(E. Courtown.)
Verulam, E.
Saye and Sele, L.
De Vesci, V. Seaton, L.
Sydney, V. Stratheden, L.
Cairns, L. (L. Chancellor.) Mar. lborough, D.
Richmond, D.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Exeter, M. [Teller.]
Fortesue, E. Ebury, L.
Graham, E. (D. Montrtose.) Foley, L.
Gage, L. (V. Gage.)
Leven and Melville, E. Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)
Malmesbury, E.
Stratford de Redcliffe,V. Houghton, L.
Strathallan, V. Hylton, L.
Lyttelton, L.
Bagot, L. Redesdale, L.
Churston, L. Silchester, L. (E.Longsford.)
Clements, L. (E. Leitrim.)
Sondes, L.
Clinton, L. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Colchester, L.
Colville of Culross, L. [Teller.]

said, that after the, decision which had just been arrived at, the number required to constitute a Quorum ought to be increased. He should move that the number, instead of 3, should be 5.

On Question, That the "Word proposed to be left out stand Part of the Clause? their Lordships divided:—Contents 25; Not-Contents 28: Majority 3.

Resolved in the Negative.

Amendment agreed to.

Clauses 17 to 26, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clauses 27, 28, and 29 agreed to.

Clause 30 (Extension of Time for Governing Bodies to make Statutes).


, in consequence of the time within which the Governing Bodies might amend their constitution having been extended from the 1st of January to the 1st of May next, proposed a verbal Amendment limiting the power of further extending the time by Order in Council to one month instead of three months.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: The Report thereof to be received Tomorrow; and Bill to be printed, as amended. (No. 285.)